I have told you the story of how my holiday to Bali was almost torn asunder by the fact that I have not done well enough in life to buy Raffles Class tickets.
Well, on reaching, I took up water activities with a deep breath and a steely resolve. I will tell you why later. When it comes to swimming, I have always preferred the sea of words. I always felt H2O was two parts Hell, and one part Oxygen mask. Swimming was way too advanced for me, and I weaned it out by taking to the jacuzzi. Though I have always avoided water activities beyond the shower, this was my first experience with jacuzzis.
As soon as I sat at the edge of a Jacuzzi, I felt the pleasant sensation of the water bubbling with energy and enthusiasm.
“Ah, this is life!”, I exulted and leaned back.
I looked beside me and found a young South American woman who was built the way you would imagine young South American women to be built. Think Shakira, and you get the general idea.
“Hi”, my smile said.
“I am yours forever. Take me with you right now”, her’s replied.
Soon, smiles flew around everywhere. Shy and sensitive man that I am, I take my time opening out to a complete stranger, even Shakira. Just when global warming seemed like it was a personal experience rather than a scientific scam, I found bubbles of water exploding beneath me, with a million and a half bubbles, large and extra-large, zooming in like heat-seeking missiles to the South Pole of my testicles. My smile widened as long forgotten sensations re-awakened, and things got hotter.
I had briefly forgotten my part of the smile-exchange program. Soon, the intensity of the bubble attack increased so that I was virtually thrown up to the surface of the water, while my elbows were still resting on the edges of the tub. It was instantly obvious that the energy had rubbed off on parts of me. The Latina smiled even more widely. However, it disappeared before you could say “Your face or mine?” or whatever it is you are supposed to say in these unfamiliar situations. Her smile, as I was saying, went like money into a politician. Like an ozone hole in the stratosphere. Like free booze. You get the idea, right?
My wife had appeared behind me and, glaring pointedly at my missed opportunity, was saying, “Let’s go, we’re getting late”. Late? I felt a hole, new unexplored world slipping out of reach, as I lamely got up and followed my wife. For good measure, she gave the bimbo one of those looks that must have started the California fires.
“Do come back soon. I will miss you forever”, said the girl’s eyes.
Now, let me tell you about eyes. A sensitive sod like Mahendra has expressed some thoughts on them. If you are one of the lazy, decadent sort who, when provided every modern remote-controlled amenity in a house (remote-controlled fridge, microwave, TV, AC, bed, etc.), complains “Lekin remote dabaayegaa kaun?” (who will press the remote, but?), then let me indulge you. Don’t bother clicking that link. Save calories. Don’t heat up the globe no more.
If I were a tear in your eyes
I would lie on your cheeks and die on your lips
Some rascal commented:
If I were a tear in your panteyes
I would lie on your cheeks and die on your hips;
So, you know, eyes are very sensitive things. It takes a lot for a man to read the eyes of those whose every intimate thought is fleetingly reflected on them, like you can transiently see your face on the water of the toilet bowl when you just sit on the can. If your pot-belly doesn’t come in the way, that is.
The situation aforesaid and described was, people will tell you, just the thing to tell me to blow my fuse. In other words, defuse the situation. Forget about coming, I was going. If one expression could sum up the experience, it is the Indian “Dhatterigee (pooh-bah)!”
Ever since my mother was warned (by an astrologer) not to let me into water for fear of death, I have always been kept away from it. I would prefer going to mountain resorts rather than beaches. I even became allergic to sea food. My favorite girl friend quit eating prawns as a mark of devotion to me. At least, that is what she had me think, till she married a man who made millions selling prawns.
Anyways, I have ensured that my son does not suffer from his father’s handicaps. He learns swimming and loves it. I joined him at the pool, a ring around my torso, head precariously above water. Don’t you just admire the fatherly commitment of a man who can’t swim, but still dons a ring and endangers his valued life just so that his son feels happy? If there a few freebies in the form of unclad women strewn about in the pool, does it really detract from this sacrifice?
I wanted him to do more than just try to teach me to swim. I suspected it was just a ploy of his not to exercise, and I would have none of it.
When I saw him (urban telly-belly and all) make a couple of sluggish moves to swim just two paces away and then float in relieved surrender, my hackles got up. I admonished him and exhorted him to be more energetic.
I said, “Do you know, an eight year old Indian girl swam hundreds of miles across the English Channel in twenty four hours? Just imagine doing that!”
An admiring, wondering look crossed his eyes. “Daddy…”
“Ah, it’s working, Dad!” I congratulated myself.
“Daddy, how did she do potty during that time?”
Things rapidly deteriorated after that with jokes coming up of a tidal wave throwing back her potty on her head, among others. Enough! I will not write on this crap any more.
Postscript: The young girl, Swapnali Yadav, had actually taken less than twelve hours in a swimming marathon in Kalamata, Greece, a distance of some thirty kilometers. Trust me to get my facts muddled after the electric shocks and other tortures I was subjected to after the jacuzzi fiasco. My mom’s astrologer was right after all. Water is dangerous for me.